According to the most recent study by the American council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Wyoming is one of the ten states in the most need of reevaluating their energy needs. In fact, Wyoming ranks number 50 out of 51 slots based on a criteria of utility policies, appliance standards, building codes, clean distributed generation, vehicle policies, transport system efficiency, initiatives, financial incentives and climate change policies. Only North Dakota fared worse with a ranking of 51. The top state was Massachusetts which overtook California from last year’s rankings. The highest rank for the inter-mountain west was Colorado ranked at number 12. While organizations such as these measure statewide proficiency, Star Valley appears to be headed in the right direction in many of these categories.
“I would say that we are far above the rest of the state,” said Wid Ritchie, Energy Specialist for Lower Valley Energy. “The reason I say that is that we are tied to the Bonneville Power Grid and that administration has always promoted conservation We have had a plan for many years. Jackson has taken huge advantage of the programs and Star Valley is starting to get better, but we are still way above the rest of the state.”
It only makes sense that an area that sports such low temperatures would see improved numbers as cold air batters homes for half the year.
“I would say that the participation is getting better,” Ritchie continued. “Its been hard to promote and I think mostly people in the area are conservative in nature and may not pursue it. But I think there is more effort. Kendall Call is mainly our auditing guy and we still see single pane windows, broken seals, inadequate insulation. These are all things we can help to improve if they are [heated with electricity].”
While recommendations would need to be made based on individual homes, certain basic improvements can help any power guzzling home.
Ritchie highly encourages residents to take advantage of the energy audit program from Call and LVE.
“What we do is we charge a $100 fee to do an audit under 3,000 square feet,” he added. “We look at the envelope of the home and make recommendations on things that might need improvement. Then after we’ve done the audit, the customer will get a report those. If primary heat is electricity, we have incentive money that can help with windows and insulation. Then, if they do that work, we pay the incentive and refund their audit fee.”
For more information on getting an energy audit for your home or to take steps to improve your home’s efficiency, contact Lower Valley Energy at 885-3175.
Ritchie also mentioned how the energy audit program can help commercial entities as well. Two large examples recently included the waste water treatment facility in Jackson which received an incentive check of over $400,000. Simplot recently received a check for over $100,000.